The vampire is an archetype. It is not the person or the thing which is under discussion. It centres round the fact of having to do something you do not like or being unable to resist behaving in a certain way although you know it has its drawbacks.
It is an intangible and the best way to get it across is to hang the personality trait on an object that everyone can grasp. The only trouble with the vampire is that the story overshadows the truth. A certain type of being condemned to behave in a certain way, that is the personification of a personality trait. The concept of the vampire is unfounded in fact. It paints a mental picture of what is really only conjecture and puts it into a context so that everyone can understand something that is at the very limit of understanding. Try to explain a mental process. You cannot explain it by itself. You have to have something to compare it with. The human mind needs comparisons.
The vampire story is not really the story of a man who officially dies several centuries ago but who cannot die and who drinks blood (though he does not need the blood to live; if he did not drink it, he still would not die.) The vampire represents compulsive behaviour, but not necessarily of a criminal type. On a very basic level, there are people who cannot resist speed. They know that they increase their chances of being killed on the road or of killing someone else, but that knowledge does not make them drive more slowly. There are people who live a certain lifestyle; for any one of a dozen reasons they would be better off if they altered that lifestyle, but would they lack whatever it is that is necessary to make them change. They continue a potentially destructive lifestyle. “Dracula” had to behave in a certain way, despite the fact that he would have preferred to behave differently. He could not alter his mode of living. The undead aspect is a rough equivalent of a sentence without limit, and the compulsion to drink blood is the equivalent of submitting to desires that would make any alteration of sentence impossible.
To explain, compulsive behaviour or self-destructive tendencies, the example is given of having to live for ever and do the thing you do not want to do or the thing that makes you unpopular. Dracula epitomises the process. His inability to die prevents him from doing many things, because death is not the end of things. If you do not die, there is a lot you cannot start on. That is like spending all your life in the third grade and never getting to university.
The vampire stories personify a moral, putting it into a form that people will recognise. People pay more attention to a story than to advice.
People with the Dracula syndrome existed before the book was written, they exist now and will exist in the future. It has nothing to do with drinking blood, sleeping in coffins and all the other trimmings.
Traits are not habits, because habits can be broken. Traits are forms of compulsive behaviour. People are able to recognise them, but are unable to do anything about them. If there had been no Christianity, it would not be so difficult to explain self-destructive traits, but there has been so much distortion of behaviour in the Christian teaching. Self-denial for its own sake is self-destructive, but you only deny yourself something because you derive greater pleasure from another thing. Suffering has been glorified. It is strange how Christianity and modern socialism both start with all men being equal. Equality is their god, and that is the biggest lie since the immaculate misconception.
Anonymous article taken from the Dark Lily Journal No 3, Society of Dark Lily (London 1987).